Comprehensive Ethics Reform? Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon Attempts to Remove First Amendment Rights.
If Missouri Governor and Democrat Jay Nixon were serious about reducing corruption within government, he would propose, at minimum, the following four plans:
- Change the Missouri Constitution, so that state judges would be selected using the “federal model,” whereby the governor appoints, and the state senate confirms judicial selections. Currently, for Appellate-level and Supreme Court-level judges, all selection power is given to two sources: the governor and unaccountable people who happen to have a law degree.
- Pass a state law that requires virtually every level of government to place all expenditures online in a free, itemized, searchable format. I successfully pushed this effort at Johnson County Community College, the largest college in Kansas. The cost of moving online about 80% of the more than $150 million in expenditures was estimated to merely be $25,000. All too often, it is virtually impossible to find out exactly how various levels of government end up spending tax dollars.
- Pass a state law providing a few thousand dollars in tax credits for private, K-12 education. K-12 government education funding is the #1 source of state dollars, and that area of state government produces the most waste. Kansas City, Missouri, “public” schools are some of the worst in the nation yet receive plenty of funding (off the top of my head, I’ll guess $13,000 per student). We know from the DC voucher program that parents choose sources of K-12 education better than employee unions and government administrators: indeed, even according to research by the federal government, the $7500/student voucher program produced better results than the $25,000/student government schools.
- Restrict taxpayer-funded lobbying. These lobbyists typically work against the voter, encourage the unhealthy expansion of government, and sometimes even encourage the violation of laws (e.g., eminent domain abuse, court-ordered spending increases).
But Governor Nixon is not serious about reforming anything within Missouri government, and so he is proposing these ideas:
- Reducing the ability of Missouri citizens to influence elections – through voluntarily, private donations to candidates and issue-based groups. Does any serious person believe that corruption within the federal government has been reduced, since the recent enactment of contribution-limiting laws (historically recent)? These speech-reducing laws merely make it more difficult to defeat incumbent representatives. Arguably, these laws increase corruption by encouraging politicians to make unethical commitments to a larger number of donors.
- I’ll quote Gov. Nixon: “Prohibiting an officeholder from taking money under the guise of ‘political consulting,’ political advice or similar services, during their time in office and for a reasonable period after leaving office.” What a meaningless and unenforceable idea.
- “Closing the revolving door between the legislature and lobbying, by prohibiting legislators from serving as registered lobbyists of the legislative branch for a reasonable period after they leave office.” This is the restriction of speech. Meanwhile, Gov. Nixon has no problem with tax money being used by a local city or county, in order to hire a contract lobbyist who would then spend every day in Jefferson City, fighting against the interests of taxpayers.
My grandfather Robert G. Brady was a Missouri State Representative, a local judge in Cape Girardeau, a St. Louis Court of Appeals judge, and a University of Missouri Curator.
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Kansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).